Peace. Flexibility. Core strength. This is what I believe are some of the commonly-touted benefits of taking up a weekly yoga class. But this ancient practice has taken a modern turn to help you release all those angry emotions you have bottled inside you. Maybe you find traditional yoga a bit too gentle, too serene. Maybe all the quiet exhaling, namastes and long pauses aren’t quite your speed. Maybe you’d rather scream obscenities and then drink a beer, in which case, ‘Rage Yoga’ could be the latest trend to help you find calmness and release pent-up frustrations during stressful times.
Lindsay Istace, founder of Rage Yoga, explains it as “A practice involving stretching, positional exercises and bad humour, with the goal of attaining good health and to become zen.” The classes were born after Istace experienced a painful breakup and traditional yoga classes did not provide the solution to all the anger she felt deep inside. “The super serene and ultra-calm environment works well for a lot of people but it made me feel like I was standing in a library full of gymnasts,” says Istace. She continues to say that combining swearing and screaming with her yoga practice helped her overcome addiction and anger issues.
During the classes, the instructor invites people to yell, vent, and release whatever tensions and stresses they’re holding inside. Accompanied by loud heavy metal and followed by cold beers, this new trend has an aggressive yet cathartic feel, and takes place in alternative locations (one of them being Brash Brewery in Houston). This practice is based on Vinyasa yoga, but slowed to a lesser pace. In the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section, Rage Yoga notes that attendees should prepare for “foul language, laughter and shenanigans. If these offend you, Rage Yoga is not for you”.
Ashley Duzich, based in Houston, Texas, who also teaches Rage Yoga says: “We are all angry about something and we all have been holding onto an ‘F’-bomb for a little bit too long. So that’s what this does: it allows you to have a safe space to let go of your and frustration and rage in a healthy way”.
Make no mistake, this is real yoga and the instructors are all appropriately qualified, holding a certification obtained after at least 200 hours of yoga instructor certification. The founder of this practice emphasised how on the surface Rage Yoga may seem like the antithesis of what the peaceful practice is supposed to be about, however, they’re helping people feel better physically, and channelling unpleasant thoughts and emotions into something positive—despite how it may look or sound on the outside.
I´ve watched some videos on YouTube, and I noted with awe, if the stretching is a bit too much, people can take “hydration breaks” to grab an alcoholic beverage before continuing. And, if anyone finds themselves falling over during a tricky pose, laughter is definitely encouraged.
While Rage Yoga may not be for everyone, those who teach the classes say they draw on traditional yoga practices — while helping people find calm in an ‘alternative’ way that makes them feel ‘empowered’.
Sometimes, the way to peace is to let go of toxic anger – and it seems Rage Yoga could be the answer.